David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Police Air Service Announced

A new National Police Air Service (NPAS) could be up and running within the next 18 months if police authorities rubber stamp the plans, ACPO has confirmed today.

Under a radical blueprint, the current air support cover supplied by individual forces would be amalgamated and would operate across force borders throughout the UK.

The current 29 bases and 33 aircraft would be reduced by around a third – with 20 bases and 23 aircraft operational and a further three held back as spares.

The plans would see Sussex and Surrey reducing to a single aircraft and relocating to a new base at Dunsfold, while cover in Merseyside, South Yorkshire and Cambridge would be withdrawn to allow other bases in the area to provide the coverage.

Hampshire Chief Alex Marshall – ACPO Lead for the NPIAS – told PoliceOracle.com that the new structure would be the first national collaboration venture of its type.

He believed the new model would save in the region of £15 million – 23 per cent – compared with the status quo and would introduce greater flexibility and efficiency.

CC Marshall added: “While the current service is capable of doing its day job, artificial boundaries have meant that helicopters are restricted to operating in their own force area.

“A national service will ensure effective coverage of both urban and rural areas. We expect to be able to reach 97 per cent of the population within 20 minutes, giving 24-hour support coverage with the roll out beginning in 2012.”

Under the new structure, the NPIA would take ownership of the aircraft, which would later be passed to the new National Crime Agency when it is formed.

Calls for assistance would be made through a local air support contact, with British Transport Police given responsibility for the scrambling and despatch of aircraft.

“We felt that this would be appropriate as BTP is already a national Police Force,” said CC Marshall. “Clearly with the reductions in airframes, we are going to have fewer pilots and fewer of our people involved. Police officers will be redeployed and we may see a small number of redundancies among staff.”

CC Marshall said that he would now be seeking approval for the move from police authorities. If given the green light, the NPAS could be operating a shadow service – with forces operating their own air support assets but as if they were working nationally – next year.

DCC Nick Gargan, acting Chief Executive of the NPIA, shared the enthusiasm for the introduction of the new initiative. He said: “This will be a truly national policing service that will be at the heart of improving public safety.

“The NPIA has played a substantial role in helping to set up the new service, which will bring operational efficiencies and allow for the introduction of innovative contracts that offer better value for money for the service and the taxpayer.”

Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

CSR: Police Funding Reduced 20%

Over the course of the Spending Review period, the Home Office will reduce overall resource spending by 23% in real terms, and capital spending by 49% in real terms.

The police service must play their part in reducing the nation's deficit. Central government police funding will reduce by 20% in real terms by 2014-15. If Police Authorities were to choose to increase precept, part of council tax, at the level forecast by the Office of Budget Responsibility, the SR settlement means that on average police budgets would reduce by 14% in real terms over the next four years.

The department’s central administration budget will be reduced by 33% in real terms over the same period.

The Home Office will manage these reductions by focusing spending where it matters most – protecting the public, and ensuring the security of our border.

The reforms we are introducing will make police forces more efficient and more effective. We will drive out wasteful spending and increase efficiency and productivity in the back office. We will end central bureaucracy and targets, such as the Policing Pledge, reduce the reporting requirements for Stop and Search and scrap the 'stop' form in its entirety. We will also modernise pay and conditions.

By cutting out costs and scrapping bureaucracy we are saving hundreds of millions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of man hours – so this settlement should not lead to any reduction in police officers visible and available on the streets.

The introduction of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners will make forces truly accountable to the communities they serve and ensure that resources are properly targeted to where they are needed most.

We will ensure that the UK retains its capabilities to tackle the terrorist threat. Counter-terrorism specific policing will be protected with a smaller percentage cut than overall police funding of 10% in real terms and we will ensure the right funding is in place to deliver a safe and secure Olympic Games in 2012.

The UK Border Agency’s budget will be cut by up to 20% over the next four years. The agency will save around £500 million in efficiencies by reducing support costs; improving productivity and value for money from commercial suppliers. It will also invest in new technologies to secure the border and control migration at a lower cost. An increasing proportion of the costs of controlling immigration and securing our border will be met by migrants and visitors to the UK.

We will abolish the National Policing Improvement Agency saving at least £50m. Some of its functions will be absorbed into the National Crime Agency which will lead the fight against organised crime, protect our border, and provide services best delivered at a national level.

In addition, the department will be adopting two ideas suggested by the public through the Spending Challenge process. We will make it possible for employers to share CRB checks, reducing the need for multiple checks. We will also ensure police forces can make procurement savings by acting together when buying goods and services.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said: “My absolute priority, as Home Secretary, is to ensure that the UK retains its capabilities to protect the public, secure the border and tackle the terrorist threat. We also have a responsibility to reduce the budget deficit and the Home Office must play its part in this.

“I believe that by improving efficiency, driving out waste, and increasing productivity we can maintain a strong police service, a secure border and effective counter terrorism capabilities whilst delivering significant savings.”

Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

Police Facing 'Deep Cuts' To Frontline Officers

Britain's police forces are expected to have to make deep cuts in officer numbers after a Treasury decision to protect Home Office spending on counter-terrorism above all else, the Guardian has learned.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is believed to be very close to a final settlement on her budget that protects counter-terrorism funding from immediate cuts, though not from the effects of inflation over the next four years.

Police forces have been drawing up cost reduction plans in anticipation of next week's comprehensive spending review announcement. So far the chief constables of West Midlands, Lancashire, Hampshire, Kent and North Wales have indicated to their authorities that they plan to cut a total of 6,467 police jobs over the next four years.

The decision to protect counter-terrorism funding follows reports in July that Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism chief, John Yates, had told a private gathering of chief constables that "eyewatering" cuts of £150m to the budget to fight terrorism could imperil national security.

It is expected that the decision to exempt counter-terrorism from the cuts of up to 25% demanded by the Treasury will mean deeper cuts in other parts of the £10.2bn Home Office annual budget.

May has dismissed Police Federation claims that up to 40,000 police jobs are at risk as "pure speculation". She has also said that back office, bureaucracy and procurement costs rather than frontline policing should be the first source for savings.

But a CSR submission leaked by the Association of Chief Police Officers to the Home Office says the scale of the 25% indicative savings envisaged can only be delivered by "a significant reduction in headcount of police forces".

The document says "undue emphasis" has been placed on uncontroversial areas such as procurement, which account for only 10% of police budgets. "Even an optimistic 10% saving [in procurement] could not realise more than an overall 1% budget reduction," it argues.

The chief constables have also told the Home Secretary that the "new economic reality" will make a number of forces unviable – "some sooner than others" – and the issue of police mergers will be back on the table. ACPO suggests that guidelines for the move from 43 police forces in England and Wales to a "smaller number of strategically sized forces" is needed.

Most forces have already imposed recruitment freezes. Police officers are currently protected from the risk of redundancy by statute. Legal advice obtained by several chief constables, however, has cleared the way for them to compulsorily retire officers after 30 years' service. Regulations say officers can be "required to retire" after 30 years if their continued employment would not be in the interests of efficiency. Already 250 officers in North Wales have been told they may be "retired in this way" and the Police Federation fears it could open the floodgates to thousands of officers – often among the most skilled and working in specialist units – leaving the police service.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, yesterday renewed his plea to ministers not to "throw the bobby out with the bathwater".

Graham Maxwell of ACPO said it was a fallacy to claim that the required savings could be realised without any impact on frontline services. "The sums simply do not add up," he said. Acpo has warned that there is a doubt over the future of specialist units such as those covering domestic violence, rape, hate crime and child protection.

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "Senior people in the police service should know better than to make irresponsible statements like that on the basis of information that hasn't been settled yet, in terms of how much money they are going to get."

Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com